How to Apply Bone Meal Fertilizer

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Things You'll Need

  • Bone meal

  • Garden tiller

  • Bow rake or garden hoe

  • Water

Bone meal is an organic soil supplement made from ground up animal bones. It is applied to gardens and landscape areas to provide nutrients for plants. Although it is not a complete fertilizer, according to "Fine Gardening" magazine, bone meal is a rich source of phosphorous. For this reason, it's best used when starting seeds, on bulbs and for plants such as roses. Apply bone meal before planting or as a side dressing later.


Step 1

Sprinkle the bone meal fertilizer over the planting area or flower bed in early spring. When planting a new garden, spread 3 lbs. of bone meal for every 50 square feet of soil. If fertilizing roses or other existing plants, apply 1 cup of bone meal per plant. If fertilizing bulbs, dig the planting hole 2 inches deeper than needed and apply 1/2 to 2 tsp. per hole.

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Step 2

Work the bone meal into the soil well using a garden tiller if you are planting a new bed. If you are fertilizing existing plants, rake the top 2 inches of soil around the plants with a bow rake or hoe to work in the bone meal. Use care to avoid disturbing the plant roots.

Step 3

Water the soil well after application, using at least 1 to 2 inches of water, to soak the bone meal down near the plant roots. Wash off the leaves of any existing plants with the water to rinse away any bone meal that may have landed on them.

Step 4

Repeat the fertilizer application in the same manner in the fall.


Because bone meal is not a complete fertilizer, you must also use other fertilizers simultaneously, especially at planting time.


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